In view of current and future demands on the law, there is an increasing need to look beyond selective adjustments to doctrinal law and to engage in sustained critical reflection on its fundamental terms and distinctions. Against this backdrop, the Chair for Legal Philosophy and Commercial Law has set itself the objective of raising awareness of the particular value of the foundational legal subjects to law, economy and society. Its teaching and research activities are driven by the belief that the key role of the foundational subjects is to open up the entire field of legal studies for universities, scientific systems and society. This task applies in particular to the domains of private law, commercial law, and the law of new technologies, all of which belong – not least because of the interdisciplinary issues they generate – to the broader focal points of the chair.

With this orientation, the Chair aims to contribute, alongside the institute lucernaiuris, to the combining of research in the legal foundational subjects with interdisciplinary exchange and technological innovation. In this way, it seeks to open vital perspectives on a law for the next society, which in the transition from the computer society to the bioinformation society will have to cope with an increasing convergence of communication media and new biotechnologies. In view of the ever narrower connections between digital economies and life sciences, the Chair subscribes to the importance of establishing interdisciplinary relations to the law of biotechnologies and information technologies – not least in the hope that these might tie in with the research work of the Centre for Law and Health.

A conceptual baseline is marked here by the research agenda of the ‘technological enlightenment’, according to which it is necessary to develop out of what has become a reflexive rational enlightenment a particular appreciation of the problem of its own limits – limits that might be recognized, for instance, in an insufficient controllability of new technologies and their consequences for man and the environment. Thus numerous legal problems that arise in connection with new technologies demand a juristic method that searches experimentally for new terms and transitional norms – with the aim of both confronting technological change in an open and learning manner and deploying applicable law itself as a technique of humanizing technology.